Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bargains and Undercover Policemen

TIE MARKET. In the Firenze market, there are many merchants.  We have 2 guys we go to for ties: "Tie Guy" who has historically given the missionaries a 5-for-10 deal, though a year ago that went down to 4-for-10.  the usual price is 1-for-4, or 3-for-10.  Then there's "New Tie Guy" who didn't give us the deal, but has a better selection.  So we have frequented his store much more of late ('we' being the Anziani of the Firenze Zone).  But one of our missionaries talked the "New Tie Guy" into giving us the 4-for-10 deal.  So now we have 2 Tie Guys.

Anyway, funny experiences with tags: we talked to a guy on a park bench -- an Irishman -- who recognized us as Mormons.  I say I'm from Boston, and he starts talking about the Patriots, not wanting to talk about God.  I try to change the topic, but he's pretty insistent on not talking about God.  Teaching in English is weird...I'm used to the phrases and words in Italian.

UNINTENTIONAL INTIMIDATION. Also, people keep thinking we're police.  We get on buses, and people who look sketchy (probably don't have tickets) get off quickly.  Or we walk around talking to foreigners who don't speak Italian or English (Chinese and African people) and they'll take out their passports and show us.  Or one couple asked us if there was something wrong when we approached them.  Oh, well.
passport please?
We had to drop an investigator (person learning about the gospel and church) of almost 2 years, because he wasn't focused on baptism.  It was weird...he stopped smoking, drinking, and drinking coffee (the idea being to take care of and respect your body, and avoid addictive substances).  He was also willing to obey the law of chastity (no sexual relations outside of marriage), and pay tithing (10 per cent of your increase to the Lord).  But it felt like he was mostly doing it for the missionaries, rather than because of a testimony of gospel principles.  So with his motives in question, we are leaving him for awhile.

We're trying to get more member work going. That's the focus the high councilman gave us.  So we'll work on that this month.  Training is going well.  I can't believe it's been a transfer already.

SEASON CHANGE. It is definitely fall: the weather is crisp in the mornings, and it's getting darker WAAAYYY too early.  Daylight savings can't come soon enough.  And at General Conference next weekend, our schedule switches back to regular schedule -- waking up at 6:30 and going to bed at 10:30.  I like that schedule better.

GRATITUDE. I'm thankful for the routine parts of the week -- District Meeting, Pday, church.  Every week I think "Wow, it's {insert activity} again!"  It's surreal.  I did an exchange with a "dying missionary" -- he goes home in 9 days.  It was weird being with him, since he's so close to going home, all excited.  Then he says I'm not all that far away from that, which doesn't help.

Have a great fall, and get psyched for General Conference!  Love you!
Anziano Whitesell

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